The Environmental Sustainability Index, which ranks nations according to their environmental conditions, has been released and the news for the U.S. is pathetic. The New York Times:
Finland, Norway and Uruguay held the top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. The United States ranked 45th of the 146 countries studied, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and most of Western Europe.
When Bush took office in 2001, we were ranked 11. This stands repeating... When Bush took office in 2001, we were ranked 11. (See 2001 numbers)
How are the rankings compiled?
The report is based on 75 measures, including the rate at which children die from respiratory diseases, fertility rates, water quality, overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases and the export of sodium dioxide, a crucial component of acid rain.
As progressives, this should be our first priority. In all polling, the environment is ranked amongst the most supported issue areas. What are we afraid of? Even the experts hired by Bush (Whitman, Pachauri) agree. If we're afraid to take on this very basic human and planetary crisis then we should just quit and go home.
The position... There won't be Social Security if children are dying from asthma and disease. There won't be freedom around the world and democracy in Iraq if the air and water kills millions. There can't be a "War on Terror" if we allow the "terrorism of neglect" to destroy our planet. There won't be an America when the might of a crumbling planet crashes down upon us all.